JECKYLL, Thomas (1827–81). Architect; Designer of Whistler's Peacock Room.
JECKYLL, Thomas 1827–81. Architect; Designer of Whistler's Peacock Room
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Autograph Letter Signed "T. Jeckyll" to "Ionides" [probably one of Alexander "Alec"' Ionides’ four siblings].
4 pages 8vo, 5 St Georges Terrace, Queen's Gate, Saturday morning n.d. [probably 1870, the date of his commission for 1 Holland Park].
Jeckyll is perhaps best known for being the original designer for what has come to be known as Whistler’s famous Peacock Room. It was a commission for the industrialist Frederick Richards Leyland’s house in Prince’s Gate, London and was Jeckyll’s last interiors project. Whilst executing the scheme for the dining room in 1876, Jeckyll consulted Whistler about his plans for the painted shutters and doors. Whistler, who was working simultaneously on other elements of the house, commandeered the project and continued his elaborate decorative scheme into the dining room. Jeckyll became unwell around this time and was unable to finish the project. He went mad and eventually died in an asylum in 1881, which is perhaps a reason that some consider him to be “among the least understood and most tragic Aesthetic Movement figures in England” (Soros, Arbuthnott, Thomas Jeckyll, 2003).
In this letter Jeckyll writes about the decorative tiles intended for the Billiard Room of 1 Holland Park, London, also discussing cost and expense. In 1870 the collector Alexander Constantine Ionides commissioned Jeckyll to design several rooms for this residence, notably the Billiard Room which was in the Anglo-Japanese style and was inset with Japanese paintings. “Alecco wrote me [. . .] to look at some tiles at Wilsons and to buy them to go round the brass grate in the Billiard room if I thought well of them [. . .] they asked me £44.00 for them; and, at last, £35 when I told young Wilson who it was wants them - they [. . .] and will want repair [. . .] I do not know if Alecco has any idea of [. . .] price [. . .] Can you tell me whether your brother would be surprised at my spending £35 [. . .] till the tiles are settled I cannot finish my design for woodwork of chimney piece and the men are waiting. Tell me if in my place you wd buy the £35 worth because I have been half spoiling the work hitherto for sake of saving little sums [. . .] I really do not know Alecco's ideas abt expense.”
The Victoria and Albert museum holds a perspective design for 1, Holland Park’s Billiard Room in its collections. The house was destroyed in the Second World War.
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